It didn’t occur to me that day while we were being hosted at lunch by Sahil in that field somewhere in the vicinity of Shiloh and witnessing his hospitality to a stranger, not until I was writing this book in fact, that this was the same Samaritan country that had so rudely stonewalled walled Jesus and his disciples when they entered it on their way to Jerusalem. salem. In contrast, our first experience in Samaria was of hospitality.
Samaritan inhospitality supplied the opening incident in the Samaria maria Travel Narrative that Luke composed. Perhaps it should not surprise prise us to find that hospitality is a prominent theme in the Travel Narrative rative metaphor that Luke uses to immerse us in a culture and among a people who don’t share the assumptions and practices of Jesus.
Jesus taught in the synagogues and preached in the temple, but settings of hospitality seemed to be Jesus’ venue of choice for dealing with kingdom matters. All the Gospel writers give us his table talk, but there is more of it in Luke, stories of Jesus in conversation at meals. The table is the focal point of hospitality in all cultures. Eating and talking go together. Luke makes the most of it.
Sometimes Jesus is host: feeding the five thousand (Luke 9:10-17), hosting the last supper (22:14-23). Sometimes he is the guest: at dinner at Levi’s house (5:27-32), twice at supper with Pharisees (7:36-5o and 14:1-14), in the home of Mary and Martha (10:38-41), at the home of Zacchaeus (19:1-10), at the third resurrection appearance (24:36-43). And sometimes, as at the Emmaus supper, you can’t tell the difference between host and guest (24:28-35).
And then there are the four hospitality stories that Jesus wove into his table talk. All occur in the Samaritan Travel Narrative: getting a meal together for the unexpected friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-8), the feast welcoming the prodigal (15:11-32), the Sabbath meal teaching on humility (14:1-14), the rude excuses to the great dinner invitation (14:15-24). The first three stories are unique to Luke, the fourth a variant telling of a story as Matthew gives it to us in his Gospel (22:1-10).
With all the grace we receive, how do we maintain a hunger and thirst for righteousness? Are you a better guest or a better host? Why?
When was the last time you were a guest at a meal? How would you describe your host’s hospitality? How well did you receive hospitality? What is required to be a hospitable guest?